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Celebrating Life Together – Our Pets Share Our Lives, and Never for Long Enough!

I recently lost my Kitty Kat; it gave me pause, as always when we lose a pet. We flashback to all the memories, laughs, and lovely moments we shared over the years. I sat in a quiet location as my tears subsided and flashed back to how she came into my life. I have not yet reached the point where I can think back fondly with a smile; the pain is still too raw. But what I can do is reflect on our time spent together, our reinforcement history, the… Continued

Celebrating Life Together – Our pets share our lives, and never for long enough!

I recently lost my Kitty Kat; it gave me pause, as always when we lose a pet. We flashback to all the memories, laughs, and lovely moments we shared over the years. I sat in a quiet location as my tears subsided and flashed back to how she came into my life. I have not yet reached the point where I can think back fondly with a smile; the pain is still too raw. But what I can do is reflect on our time spent together, our reinforcement history, the… Continued

Applicant Support Group

Your New Support Group As an applicant to our credentialing program, we are sure you have many questions. So to make it easier for you to get answers we have scheduled two monthly sessions which will be held on Zoom. These have been scheduled to support all time zones. The following are the days and times you can jump on Zoom each month and talk to the Education Committee leadership.

Abusive Dog Training Practices and Informed Consent, Ethics and “Do No Harm”

by Niki J. Tudge Dog trainers who use punishment-based approaches and equipment designed to work by causing fear and/or pain commonly market themselves under a variety of verbiage and marketing slogans such as “balanced,” “positive relationship,” “natural methods,” “relationship building,” “positive only,” and “no food necessary.” These are all taglines that are bandied around but mislead unsuspecting owners who are looking for humane ways to train their pets. Meanwhile, the terminology used may be carefully crafted to appeal to pet guardians who may not always understand the various training methods… Continued

What Do Dogs, Cats, Cars and Chairs Have in Common?

The Need for a New Legal Definition of Living Property by Niki J. Tudge Are Pets Family? According to The Harris Poll (2015), “nearly all pet owners (95%) … consider their pets to be members of the family.” Yet, legally, pets are still considered property or chattel. “Technically in the eyes of the law, [cats and dogs] are no different from a couch or a car” (Grimm, 2014). The terms “property” and “chattel” may be defined as follows: Property: Anything that is owned by a person or entity. Property is divided… Continued

Why Not Debate Somebody in Real Time?

  by Niki Tudge Two years ago, I was asked to debate a controversial figure on a podcast, and for several reasons, I turned it down. I was asked repeatedly, bordering on harassment, even though I gave what I believed to be a sufficient answer. Politely, I answered no. The first part of my answer was that I have limited bandwidth, and I place my efforts where I feel I have the most impact. The other part of my reasoning was based on the following. Going onto a podcast, Zoom… Continued

Advocating Together—The Mission, Vision and Values of the Pet Professional Guild

by Niki Tudge Each of us wants to bring about change in our industry. We yearn for a day when pain and fear are no longer used in the training and care of pets. We have a mammoth job ahead of us, and it most certainly is not a sprint but a marathon. It is possible to hold professional autonomy and support your choice of humane hierarchy while also taking a stand and position against the use and application of tools designed with one purpose: to inflict pain or fear.… Continued

Tips for Ensuring Safe and Happy Holidays for People and Dogs

By Niki Tudge All behaviors that dogs exhibit are designed either to access pleasurable situations and desirable objects or to avoid and escape unpleasant situations and undesirable objects. (Note: This is based on what each individual dog considers to pleasant or unpleasant, not the human, and it is important to be aware that the canine and human opinions may differ in any given situation!) A dog’s communication systems are greatly ritualized, and have evolved specifically to avoid or cut off conflict. This has made dogs, as a species, very successful… Continued

Slithery Snakes and Other Scary Things!

It’s that time of year when we see many snakes and lizards warming themselves along our running pathways. Having lived in Florida for over 15 years, I know these are a common but not always welcome sight. As a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant, snake avoidance was built into my puppy-raising plan when Doogie came into our home as an 8-week-old rascal. We lived on 24 acres with water frontage, so it was essential to ensure Doogie had the skills and knowledge to avoid a critter safely should she… Continued

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Maker of Shock Collar Products

By Niki Tudge Good news! A class-action lawsuit has been filed in California against Radio Systems, maker of shock collar products. The story has been picked up by Bloomberg Law and several other sites.   Excerpt from the filing:   “This is a consumer class action arising out of misrepresentations and omissions by Radio Systems in connection with its manufacture, sale, marketing, and advertising of shock collar products under the brand name PetSafe® (the “Shock Collar Products”). Shock Collar Products are devices that deliver electric shocks to household pets via a collar worn… Continued

The Lost Art of Disagreeing Without Being Disagreeable – An Urgent Need

By Niki Tudge As business owners, one of our fundamental responsibilities to our clients, our employees and our stakeholders is to ensure that we provide a workplace where civility is not only a priority, but a deep-rooted, daily cultural norm. Manners, respect, consideration, tolerance and equality are all characteristics and indicators of a healthy and progressive organizational culture. While the mere suggestion of implementing a workplace training program on manners may draw sneers and seem like overkill, the reality is that rudeness is a workplace epidemic that can cost small… Continued

Would You Invite Your Best Friend to a Restaurant with Cuisine They Don’t Like?

  Doogie and I walk together every day and run every other day. Doogie only ever runs 6 miles on roads, and then she goes home to snuffle mats and frozen KONGs while I clock up more miles. Doogie often prefers to walk. But whether we choose to walk or run, the focus is always on OUR enjoyment, the collective! This video shows the beginning of one of our outings. We are walking to warm up and collect important peemail. Watch Doogie’s body language change when I say, “are you… Continued

Fun Canine Nose Work in the Shelter

Congratulations to Kristin Laurene! This post won runner up in the 2022 Canine Scent Writing Competition. It is definitely not a news flash to any dog owner that a dog’s sense of smell is its strongest. It is also not surprising to hear about dogs stuck in shelter environments getting bored and unwanted behaviors developing, or further strengthening, due to lack of regular mental stimulation. However, pets in shelter and rescue environments are not the only pets who experience lack of mental stimulation. Three professional detection-dog trainers and handlers realized… Continued

Scent Success: Giving Scent Work a Second Chance

Congratulations to Shelley Doane! This post won runner up in the 2022 Canine Scent Writing Competition. I started getting interested in canine scent work with my dogs a few years ago. It began with an introductory class taught by a fellow trainer. It was an interesting class with lots of good information, but I did not find it fun, and my dog, Sophie, didn’t seem to really enjoy it either. A couple of years later, I listened to a podcast by another trainer about scent work using food and how… Continued

Pet Professional Guild Launches New Divisional Member Meetups

Free Bimonthly Events Provide Members a Forum for Mentoring, Education and Support INVERNESS, Fla. – Aug. 19, 2022 – The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has launched free bimonthly divisional meetup events for its members. The events are designed to give members the opportunity to join in the conversation and ask questions of pet professionals and featured guests live in an informal format. “Our goal with the meetups is to provide an environment for topical and species-specific discussions and education while fostering a sense of community and support among PPG members,”… Continued

You Can Still Help the Animals of Ukraine Survive the War

Quick Link: Help Animals Survive the War in Ukraine (Click on link to donate.) Latest updates on the Help Animals Survive the War in Ukraine fundraiser A Letter from Dr. Marina Bayeva: On August 24th, it will be six months (!) since Russia invaded Ukraine. Six months with no end in sight! I cannot put into words all the pain and devastation that the war has brought to my home country. Yet, people of Ukraine persevere, coming together to help one another in acts of everyday heroism. And your continued support of… Continued

Pet Professional Guild Appoints New Editor of BARKS from the Guild

INVERNESS, Fla. – Aug. 3, 2022 – PRLog — The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has appointed New York-based cat behavior consultant Paula Garber as editor of its trade publication BARKS from the Guild effective August 5, 2022. She replaces Susan Nilson, who served as editor and was a member of the PPG Steering Committee from March 2014 to July 2022. “On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Pet Professional Guild, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Susan for her many years of contribution. We greatly appreciate her services during the ‘growing’ years… Continued

Rethinking Your Use of Canine Scent Knowledge and Skills

A few years ago, we hosted Dr. Robert Hewings from the UK College of Scent Dogs to present a couple of back-to-back workshops at our training business in Tampa, FL. One of these workshops was the five-day Canine Scent Instructor Certification workshop. To be honest, at the time I was eager to host Dr. Hewings and his business partner Karen for our membership, but scent training wasn’t something I was really into! I considered it a Canine Sport and given my time constraints and the fact that I already participated… Continued

How Do Dogs Cool Down?

Your dog has three ways to help keep cool in hot conditions; panting, sweating and blood vessel expansion. On very hot and humid days, even with a few cooling systems on board, our pets can still struggle to regulate their temperatures. Running, hard play, direct sun and other variables can create a potentially dangerous situation for your dog when it is hot. As pet guardians we need to make sure that our pets’ environment keeps them cool and safe. Panting – Respiratory Process The sweating process for dogs Is actually… Continued

Building Your Client an Effective Pet Training Program

This article presents guidelines for dog training professionals to help them build training programs for their clients, including lesson and individual session plans     By Niki Tudge When we are building an effective training program for clients and their dogs, we usually start the process by completing a full client intake procedure and going to the client’s home and completing the informant interview. From here, we should then be ready to build our client a training program that includes the Training Road Map, Individual Lesson Plans, and Hands-on Sessions.… Continued

The Topic of Microaggressions for Identification and Educational Purposes!

Introduction To some degree we are all products of cultural conditioning that instills within us biases and prejudices that can impregnate our behavior towards others. The term and concept microaggressions was first identified and termed in the 1970’s by Chester M. Pierce. The term refers to “subtle, stunning, often automatic, and non-verbal exchanges which are ‘put downs’” (Pierce, Carew, Pierce Gonzalez, & Willis, 1978, p. 66). Racial microaggressions have also been described as “subtle insults (verbal, nonverbal, and/or visual) directed toward people of color, often automatically or unconsciously” (Solorzano et… Continued

Just the Thought of Leaving Pets in a War Zone is an Incredibly Difficult Mental Exercise

The thought of losing my dogs or being forced to leave them behind in a war zone if I had to evacuate is an incredibly difficult mental exercise. I can barely even write about it. And yet I had been faced with this dilemma in my previous life when I lived in Nigeria. During my three years there we experienced two coups and I had to face the possibility that in the event of a mandated evacuation I would have to leave my pets behind. I was told in clear… Continued

A Dog’s Communication System

A dog’s communication system is greatly ritualized, and has evolved specifically to avoid or cut off conflict. This has made dogs, as a species, very successful in terms of their numbers, variety, and adaptability. Things, however, can go awry when we humans misread the signals dogs send us, leaving them helpless to effectively communicate their feelings to us no matter how hard they try. We cannot know or understand what dogs think and vice-versa. What we can do, though, is understand their body language, observe them carefully as we interact… Continued

Ten Dog Training Tips That Benefit Pets and Their People

It is important for those who live and work with dogs to have an understanding of basic behavioral science. Bearing this in mind, here are just a few examples of positive reinforcement training protocols that may be used in place of aversive methods*: Rather than waiting for a dog to make a mistake so you can punish him, reinforce behavior you like to help the dog learn and so both parties feel more positive about the relationship.   Rather than using a choke chain or prong collar which rely on… Continued

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